What’s the difference between kiddy porn and art?
One of Larry Clark’s many infamous “Kids are Evil Monsters” movies, “Kids” is one of those films I’m proud to admit I despise with every inch of my being. And to this day I’m still trying to forget I ever saw it. In 1995, Larry Clark made the scene of indie and art house film by showing the world, the ecosystem of kids and what they do when adults aren’t looking. And while he was somewhat accurate in that regard concerning their penchant for sex and drinking, he forgot to include one crucial film detail: A narrative.
In the first five minutes we watch two teens embracing in deep kissing only to watch the female of the pair be raped set to the somber narration of our main character as he expresses his fondness for virgins. Later we’re given an insight in to teen sex as young girls sit around talking about their first time and what their first sexual experiences were. Another scene pictures two teen girls making out in a swimming pool for the mere fun of it. One thing is for sure, Clark loses his direction (considering he ever had one, mind you) in the first five minutes of the movie in a haze of picturing little girls doing what little girls shouldn’t do.
And while this gives off the pretense that it’s painting a picture of a world we deny exists, and yet does, it really just comes off as pedophilia more often than not. “Kids” masquerades as art when really it’s glorified underage porn set to the backdrop of New York City. It occasionally takes breaks from the underage sex to feature random scenes including character Casper lusting for his friends’ mom while she breast feeds, and a group of teens beating a man near death in the middle of the city. Don’t forget the rape, the many instances of rape, and the allusions toward rape.
It’s just ninety minutes of girls getting raped, and girls talking about losing their virginity in graphic detail sans the narrative. Director Larry Clarke loves to picture under age girls and zoom in on their crotches whenever the occasion calls for it. He practiced the same zoom ins constantly ad nauseum with Bijou Phillips in “Bully” and he does it here. I’d call him an artist if writer Clark had any kind of skill with characterization, which doesn’t serve his direction which is stale, flat, and absolutely bereft of technique. “Kids” is much too exploitative, gross, and despicable to consider it valid art house fare; it’s a film that shouldn’t be celebrated, it should be considered one of the many pointless relics of nineties cinema.